MALIBU PRAYER HELPS SALVAGE THE DAY FOR EVANS

Saturday was not a total loss for Edward P. Evans, who saw his Quality Road scratched from the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Gr.I when he refused to load in the starting gate.

Nearly two hours earlier, his Virginia-bred Malibu Prayer posted her first graded-stakes victory by taking the Chilukki Gr.II at Churchill Downs by a length over Copper State.

“She is doing well this morning,” said Michael Dilger on Sunday, the Churchill Downs assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “She had been training well at Belmont and we thought she would run well.”

Dilger was not sure if Malibu Prayer would come back in three weeks to run in the $150,000-added Falls City Handicap Gr.II on Nov. 26.

“I don’t know if Todd would want to run her back that quick,” Dilger said. “We have Unbridled Belle pointed to the Falls City and that will be the last race for her.”

The Chilukki victory improved Malibu Prayer’s record to 9-4-3-2 with the three runner-up finishes coming in graded stakes. The victory was worth $99,626 and increased Malibu Prayer’s earnings to $348,526.

(Photo by Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs)